Reader reviews and comments on The Nightingale, plus links to write your own review.

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The Nightingale

by Kristin Hannah

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2015, 448 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2017, 592 pages

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There are currently 52 reader reviews for The Nightingale
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Power Reviewer Lee M. (Creve Coeur, MO)

France in the War
Do we need another WWII book? Yes! We will never have enough reminders of this inhuman chapter in our history. Especially if they are as well written as this book. I found the beginning a little slow, as the author explains the history and personalities of her leading characters. But, perhaps adds more interest. It's remarkable, knowing Ms. Hanna could not physically be there, how she so minutely describes the horrors and atrocities of this war. Also, by including a Nazi officer, and his story, she emphasizes that not all antagonists are monsters. The addition of a few more 'normal' enemies might have reinforced the point. Ms Hannah's description of Isabelle and Viann's heroics remind us that many women went above and beyond the expectations of the stay at home little woman. Also not all heroes wore uniforms or were awarded medals or commendations. I found myself questioning whether I could have and would have done so much. Cleverly the author adds a mystery, exactly who is the Nightingale? I found myself constantly guessing who it was, given the clues. It didn't take many pages to convince me that your gonna love this book.
Barbara B. (Holbrook, NY)

The Nightingale
The descriptive words took me to every inch of this story. I could smell the places, feel the peoples' emotions. At first I was afraid this was going to be a boring novel, whose plot had been done so many times before. But the author had me at the first page and I was lost. Read this beautiful book and savor it.
Edie M. (Kennett Square, PA)

The Nightingale
I fell in LOVE with The Nightingale. I was on the edge of my seat, up late reading and even dreaming about Viann and Isabelle - sisters who are not as different from each other as they think.

While I could not relate personally to their trials, I felt like I was in it with them every heart wrenching step of the way. Bravo to Kristin Hannah for bring this story to life as only she can.
Eve A. (Henderson, NV)

The Nightingale
Thank you Kristin Hannah for an unforgettable story. I have read all of her books and this one is my favorite - a little different than what she usually writes. It mainly takes place in the countryside of France during World War II. It is a look at the strength, courage and endurance of the women left behind to deal with daily life. I was drawn into the story immediately. I have read many books about World War II - fiction and non fiction - but never anything like this. The sense of place, the relationships between the women, their children and the German soldiers in the town make this a story you will remember for a long time. I recommend it for a different perspective on the toll of war.
Annie P. (Murrells Inlet, SC)

Ms. Hannah has written a masterpiece.
The Nightingale is a wonderful, horrible book, a book that brings the reader to his/her knees. It's not about the warriors, the front-line fighters, the military heroes and wolves. It's about the people who were in the shadows, who had to live amongst the death and destruction, the hate and fear, the not-knowing, and still try to draw breath, raise and feed children, believe in themselves and God, and make it to the end of the devastation. It's about the people who risked everything they knew and had and loved in order to try to do what they believed was right.

By coincidence, I am taking a course on the Holocaust at the same time I was given this book to review. The facts borne out by history's voice and not by some screaming mustachioed maniac give this book backbone and a hell of a message. Everyone – everyone – needs to read this book, to get into the parts of the characters, and try to feel just an iota of what they felt during this time in their lives. To give a final warning to this book, remember…history has a bad habit of repeating itself. Look at what is happening in the world today.
Sandra C. (Rensselaer, NY)

Couldn't put the book down
A well written book that is useful to help us remember this period of history and all the extremes the people went through. It is important to remember the contributions of the women of that time. Reflecting on my life makes me realize how much I have taken for granted.
Frances B. (Virginia Beach, VA)

A Book to Remember!
THE NIGHTINGALE is a fine example of a beautifully written and extensively researched historical novel. Kristen Hannah has brought the characters to life in this page turner. Set in war torn France at the onset of World War II, it is an epic story of one family's enduring love and unimaginable acts of bravery in a tumultuous period. I would recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction and to others who enjoy a book that promises to captivate!
Sherilyn R. (Bountiful, UT)

Women and the Price of Heroism
Kristin Hannah's latest book The Nightingale is the story of two sisters and how each reacts to the challenges of living in France under Nazi occupation.

The sisters grew up in the years after the Great War and both saw and felt the destructive effects of that war on their family and those left behind. Their father returned from World War I a very different man than the one who left and then shortly thereafter their mother died. Their father could not or would not care for his daughters and they were pawned off on relatives, schools and others, growing up with little familial love and connection.

While the book is focused on the lives and different personalities of the two sisters and how each in their own way responds to the horrors of war, the question at the very heart of the book is - when would I risk my life -- and most important, my child's life - to save a stranger?

Hannah says that In love we find out who we want to be, in war we find out who we are. And sometimes, perhaps, what we would do to survive. This book is and exploration of that thought.

Hannah was particularly good at introducing lesser known historical events from the war, i.e. the exodus from Paris, the Vichy collaboration with the Nazi's, the betrayal of the Parisians by the French Police, the events at the Velodrome d/Hiver, retaliation against French resistance, and the dangers of the Pyrenees escape routes. I would heartily recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.

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